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Message from the Chief Executive

Message from the Chief Executive

Date of release: 12 June 2020

Latest News: David Loughton

I am acutely aware of the impact, on all of us, of the pandemic over recent months and of the terrible events that have unfolded in the USA, with the death of George Floyd and the anguish visible in the ongoing protests both in the USA and in other parts of the world.

Sadly, George Floyd’s death cannot be viewed in isolation. Many of you will have seen the key findings from Public Health England’s report on Covid-19 deaths published, which identified major inequalities in mortality risk for Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) people.

I acknowledge that COVID-19 has had a disproportionate impact on BAME staff. I find this troubling that part of our RWT family are hurting at the moment, and may be feeling vulnerable, frustrated and angry.

Organisationally we are committed to taking action to tackle racism, inequality and discrimination. We know that whilst we have made significant progress there is more that we must do. We know, for instance that our BAME staff experience higher levels of harassment than our white staff and they are less likely to be provided with equal opportunities across the organisation. I am not complacent and we have, and will continue to put in place actions to improve the experiences of our BAME colleagues over the coming months. I want everyone in this organisation to recognise and challenge poor behaviour when they see it, I want people to be held to account for treating others in that way, otherwise things won’t change. I am, along with my executive colleagues, committed, not only to stand in solidarity with our BAME colleagues and community, but to be inclusive, vocal and active in doing so.

So, what are we doing?

We are listening to the voices of our staff through the BAME network.

We are rapidly risk assessing all of our front line staff including BAME staff and other vulnerable staff.

We are committed to keeping all staff safe against COVID-19.

We are constantly reviewing the experiences of staff by listening to them and being responsive to feedback. As part of this we have reviewed our Equality, Diversity and Inclusion training and we are working to continually improve the cultural awareness aspects of our leadership development activities as well as actively promoting and participating in the regional programmes such as those run by the Leadership Academy.

I often say to people, speak up if you have concerns, speak up if you see something that isn’t right, speak up and share your experiences. I understand that it is easy for me to say that and whilst the first port of call would normally be your manager, I accept this is not always easy.

That is why we also have a number of other routes that you can choose to speak up safely including:

  • to our BAME employee network
  • to our Freedom to Speak up Guardian, Neelam Rai Mehay at neelam.mehay1@nhs.net
  • to a member of your Divisional Management Team; or
  • to a member of the HR team

But it is not just about speaking out, we must listen to and check in on our colleagues from ethnic minorities who may be vulnerable. We must have open, honest and sometimes difficult conversations with our BAME colleagues when they describe poor, discriminatory experiences and understand the impact of this. We must educate ourselves about the complexities of discrimination, it may be subtle, include discounting. Only then can we become allies and overtime behaviours will change and we will have a truly inclusive and compassionate organisation.

I want all our staff to be safe, feel valued and enjoy working in our organisation. I personally love our Trust, its diverse culture and the care and commitment that is shown by all of you to our patients and your colleagues. This has never been more apparent then over the past 12 weeks. Let us build on our work together and never let prejudice, brutality and unfairness succeed.

So, I would encourage you to listen to each other, share your experiences, speak up and make your voice heard!

David

A Teaching Trust of the University of Birmingham